Cross Country Team Leads League PollsJennifer DeBoer
The MIT women’s cross country team upset Wellesley on Friday to jump to the top of the conference polls.
MIT scored five of the top eight positions to edge out Wellesley, 26-29. Wellesley sophomore Lindsay LaRose won the 5k with a time of 19:30. MIT took second and third with Martha W. Buckley ’04 (19:32) and Julia C. Espel ’05 (19:54).
The spread between the first MIT finisher and the fifth was 1:06, much smaller than in recent meets and a factor in the team’s victory, according to Coach Paul Slovenski.
Veronica A. Andrews ’05, Lynn K. Kamimoto ’05, and Margaret F. Nervegna G “pack attacked” for places six through eight, rounding out MIT’s scoring runners.
The win over Wellesley comes after last Friday’s unexpected victory in the four-team “Mini-Newmac” held at Franklin Park. The team finished with a total time of 101:52, the third fastest time ever for their home course .
Before the Franklin Park meet, the Engineers were ranked fourth in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference. After the win over number two ranked Coast Guard, Mount Holyoke, and Smith College, MIT came out just behind Wellesley.
“This was my proudest moment with the women’s cross-country program,” said Slovenski. “That was a big deal knocking off three respectable foes at once, something MIT hasn’t done in quite awhile.”
While Slovenski was very pleased with the team’s performance at the Franklin Park meet, he knew the next week’s meet would be a better measure of the team’s stance within the conference.
“Our depth is going to be our strength heading into this Friday’s classic old fashioned head to head dual meet versus arch-rival Wellesley, holders of the number one spot in the NEWMAC for the past three fall seasons in a row,” Coach Slovenski predicted after the invitational at Franklin Park.
Results proved him right, as Wellesley, who came into the meet with their top seven runners an average of ten seconds of ahead of MIT, captured three of the top five spots, yet fell short in the final point total.
“I’m still speechless,” Slovenski said. “This is quite a respectable achievement for so young a squad.”
Slovenski was also impressed because of Wellesley’s home course advantage.
“They had the home field advantage with all those people dressed in blue and wearing “W’s,” he said.
Coming from a 27-29 deficit at the two-mile mark, MIT finished strong to flip the balance. All of the MIT team members finished the course in under 25 minutes.
Again, Slovenski is pleased with the women’s performance but is looking to the next meet.
“Staying ahead is the hardest task to do in all of athletics because all contenders rise-up to try to be spoilers when they meet the top dogs,” said Slovenski. “We’ve made our move and there’s no looking back. The competition is on to us.”